Forth Valley Migrant Support Network

Forth Valley Migrant Support Network has been established in October 2009 to address the problems of disenfranchised migrants and people whose first language is not English. The difficulties faced by us all when we come across an automated telephone service are magnified ten-fold if you are not a UK citizen. Important paperwork is impeded slowing down people`s settlement and security in the UK. Online savings in things such as a car insurance, travel and utilities can become a nightmare for anyone. You do not have to be a migrant to access help. We would aid any elderly locals to our office needing face to face help with telephone or internet. 

The organisation has been set up by local people and migrant workers involving different nationalities. It is managed by a voluntary committee who support and develop voluntary interpreters and translators who are recruited from the local migrant and Black Minority & Ethnic communities.

The Network is fortunate to have a committed team of talented and dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic community members.

     Part of our team at the 1st AGM, April 2011 and the 2nd AGM, August 2012

Forth Valley Migrant Support Network have won a number of awards since we began work in 2009.
The great work of our volunteers has been recognised at the 12th Annual Volunteering Awards Ceremony hosted by Volunteer Centre Falkirk in June 2011. Diane, Joanna and Georgi were presented with recognition certificates. Stanislava won the European Volunteer of the Year 2011 Award. 
The group was also presented with Significant Achievement award by Falkirk Council, Community Education Services in June 2011.
In June 2012, at the 13th Annual Volunteering Awards Ceremony hosted by Volunteer Centre Falkirk, Diane, Alan, Stanislava were presented with  medals for long service awards.
The Volunteers
The Network’s volunteers come from a wide range of communities, ages, levels of experience, and areas of expertise.  They get involved for a variety of reasons: some are migrant workers themselves, some are looking for professional experience in the third sector, while others just want to assist a vulnerable group.
We have secured training for our volunteers in areas such as: welfare rights, data protection, policy development, funding applications, and European legislation. Volunteers are committed adult learners prepared to keep their knowledge of changes to legislation current and up to date. They are experienced in dealing with many of the issues which arise in advocacy work. 
We also have a steady bank of volunteers, who help us with organising events, outreach meetings and service users home visits, etc. on an ad hoc basis.

The members

The Network has a membership scheme. Currently membership stands at 400 and includes people from 25 nationalities. All members enjoy the right to vote at our AGM.


The Network has partnerships with people in Falkirk Council area and various agencies, service providers and groups: Falkirk Council Housing and Social Work Services, Citizens Advice Bureau, Falkirk Food Bank, local employers, Women’s Aid, Victim Support, Police and Fire Brigade, NHS Forth Valley, local Housing Associations, private landlords, employers and utility suppliers.
The organisation also developed partnership with other local community organisations e.g. Building Bridges Scottish Gypsy/Travellers Movement, Rainbow Women`s Muslim Group, Society of St Vincent de Paul, Polish Community Network (Falkirk and District), Falkirk Family Support CIC.

The work we do helps other voluntary organisations, such as Citizens Advice Bureaux,   Accommodation Resource Centre and Women’s Aid.  We give advice to them and can act as a sounding board for them.  We recognize that many organisations will not be as up to date with current legislation on foreign nationals rights, the laws covering the functionality of the European Union and Human Rights Law and we welcome referrals from these organisations.

                                                                           The committee

We have an eight person committee with a four person management committee. The committee has enjoyed a fairly static membership over the past four years which has allowed us to develop the Network through holding regular committee meetings and attending outside bodies of interest meetings and event.  We pride ourselves as a network to be members of the Scottish Migrant Network. Our committee has raised issues from local to national levels.

Skills among our committee include language skills, desk top publishing, ESOL teaching, digital teaching, confidence building, persona dolls teaching, accountancy, legal knowledge, humanitarian rights, presentations building, web design and all aspects of office administration and most importantly funding applications.
                                                     The people using the Network

Over the years, the Network has mostly been needed by recent migrants of the past decade, mostly from the European Union “A8 and A2 accession countries”. The main reasons why these new arrivals have come to Scotland are the economic situation and high unemployment in a number of countries, combined with higher pay in the UK.

Most of the migrant workers undertake low paid, unskilled employment with limited prospects even though some of them are experienced workers with good qualifications in their country of origin. They are concentrated in a relatively small number of sectors of the economy, including food processing, hospitality and catering, construction and agriculture.

The majority of our service users are Polish, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Scottish. There is a significantly younger working age profile of service users with majority of the 30 to 44 years age group. Our youngest client is 22 and the eldest - 67. Majority of the clients live in the following geographical areas: Grangemouth, Boness, Falkirk, Larbert, Stenhousemuir, Denny, Hallglen.

The most sought help is with forms filling (paper and online), help with writing CV or how to use the government’s website Universal Jobmatch or do online job search, and information enquiry on various topics and in particular about the Bedroom tax or benefits sanctions (JSA). 


Office 12
Newhouse Business Park
Newhouse Road
Office:  01324 489990       
Mobile: 0751 2025100
Opening Hours for clients:
Tuesday        9am - 1pm
Wednesday    9am - 1pm
Thursday       9am - 1pm
Or by appointment
Job Club:
Friday 10am - 12pm
Computer Classes:
Friday 1pm - 3pm
Learn Together women's group meeting
every Thursday
10am -11:15am